There are 11 thoughts on “The “Fiery Darts of the Adversary” in 1 Nephi 15:24”.

  1. The imagery in 1 Nephi 15:24 is puzzling at first. Why would “fiery darts” “overpower unto blindness”? The most obvious answer is that “fiery darts” are incendiary devices that result in the production of smoke, which smoke could “overpower unto blindness” (and could also be connected with the “mist of darkness” mentioned in the Tree of Life vision). More research on the methods of ancient warfare, particularly in Mesoamerica, could make a helpful connection here. For example, some sources talk of wooden shields and heavy cotton “armour” being used, both of which would be susceptible to “fiery darts” that lead to the production of smoke.

  2. I too, enjoyed the article. Thanks, Stephen for your contribution.
    In the search for a source for the “fiery darts of the adversary”, you might consider the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the Hymns of Thanksgiving (which some LDS have speculated to be writings of Zenos?), there is a really nice connection, where the bad guys are the ones with the fiery arrows:
    “And I said, Mighty men
    have pitched their camps against me,
    and have encompassed me
    with all their weapons of war.
    They have let fly arrows
    against which there is no cure,
    and the flame of (their) javelins
    is like a consuming fire among trees.”
    -Geza Vermes, “The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English”, Hymn 7 (formally 2)

  3. Amazing how the book of mormon is the gift that keeps on giving, there is so much depth and richness in its text. Every little odd word or phrase or sequence tells a story or fits culturally in context.

  4. Thank you for your insightful article … once again I’m reminded that the BoM is the best study guide ever written on the OT & NT. When I read the BoM, the phrase “fiery darts” naturally draws me into Paul’s counsel in Ephesians. Pondering Paul’s words reminds me to expand my defensive spiritual efforts to include personal righteousness (breast plate), focus on simple truths of the restored gospel and being a peaceable follower of Christ (feet shod), strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ (shield), and reminds me that the “sword” is the word of God and the constant companionship of the Holy ghost …
    The KJV Biblical phrases in the BoM naturally draw the reader of the BoM back into the Bible where the reader’s understanding is expanded, enhanced, enlarged, and enlightened. The connectivity of the scriptures always reminds me that the BoM is good and true.
    Knowing that the term “fiery darts” has ancient origins is also fascinating.
    Nick Frederick’s presentation at the “BoM Complexities…” conference and his Doctoral dissertation suggest that the BoM was purposely prepared to include thousands of phrases pulled from the KJV.
    “Fiery darts” is another interesting piece of this expanding puzzle.
    In your research of the phrase “fiery darts” did you follow Stan Carmack’s research to see if the term has a connection to early modern English usage?
    Who wrote the BoM? The BoM actually was written by the “gift and power of God” and I love all these interesting complexities.

  5. I wrote the previous comment, but forgot to check the box to recieve notifications of followup comments, so I’m now doing it.

  6. I much enjoyed this well-researched and reasoned article, Stephen. However, I was a little surprised to read your reference to Joseph Smith translating the writing on the plates into English. Regarding how the Book of Mormon text was produced, as Royal Skousen has emphasized often over the last few years, and as Joseph’s contemporaries have described it, the words Joseph read in the stone were already written in English. Joseph didn’t translate a single word of the text; he simply dictated what was already translated for him. The intriguing question Skousen has been asking is who actually rendered the text into English so that Joseph Smith could read it. Since the translation uses words and phrases from the English linguistic period of approximately 1470-1740 CE, Skousen has hypothesized a committee of persons who lived during that period and collaborated on the project. ( I have a theory on who the “committee” members were, and I think strong evidence underlies the theory, if you’re interested.) Thereafter, through the power of God this wonderful translation was transmitted to Joseph through the medium of the seer stone and/or interpreters.
    I think this point is important because it corroborates and strengthens your overall point that there’s no reason to accuse Joseph Smith of plagiarizing. If he neither authored or translated the text in the first place, but instead read in the stone a translation prepared by others writing centuries earlier, as the evidences indicates, the authenticity of the Book of Mormon as an ancient text is corroborated.

    • Scott,
      Apart from the point that Skousen’s hypothesis is not the only explanation for the text, suggesting that someone else wrote might absolve Joseph from charges of plagiarism but only deflects that charge onto whomever did the translation. One of the biggest issues with Skousen’s hypothesis is that it shifts all translation issues earlier in time without solving any of them.

    • Yes, this is an important point. Sadly, once again Skousen’s expert and textually motivated view, which has been publicly available since at least 1998, has been ignored. I hope that LDS scholars who touch on these matters in the future will acknowledge and even take seriously his studied opinion. The default has been to discount or ignore his view. I firmly believe that this will change with the passage of time as substantial evidence comes forth. Look for parts 1 and 2 of volume 3 of the critical text project in the first half of 2016. It deals with the ubiquitous grammatical editing that the Book of Mormon text has suffered over time.
      Extensive linguistic evidence tells me, in no uncertain terms, that the translation of Joseph Smith was a retransmission of revealed words (see the first line of 2 Nephi 27:22). This is a less-common but equally valid meaning of the word translation. The English-language translation was carried out by God. The details of that process do not appear to be known to us. To me, translation issues are more easily understood under Skousen’s view than under the long-standing, currently dominant view. Nevertheless, I care more about knowing which agency was responsible for the English-language translation of the Book of Mormon than whether it shifts translation issues to a different time or faculty.

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